Is this your first time here?

Each day, Clio connects thousands of people to nearby culture and history. Our website and mobile app are free for everyone and designed to make it easy to discover cultural and historical sites throughout the United States. You can search for nearby sites, take a walking tour, create your own itinerary, or simply go for a walk or drive and let Clio show you nearby sites using our mobile app. Clio is non-profit and free for everyone thanks to the support of people like you. Donations are tax- deductible! Click here to learn more!

Van Meter Hall

Historic Sites, Monuments, Landmarks, and Public Art (National Register of Historic Places)


Van Meter Hall is a building on the campus of Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Constructed in 1911, this was the first building constructed on Western Kentucky University's campus; also the first campus building designed by Louisville, KY native, Brinton B. Davis.

Charles J. Van Meter before his death in 1913. The scene below is of the 1913 flood that came through the area and took is coffin out of the funeral home. His coffin and body were rescued shortly afterwards.
Brinton B. Davis. Courtesy of University of Louisville, KY Digital Collections.
Van Meter Hall auditorium
Van Meter Hall today


Architect Brinton B. Davis was known as the 'hill builder' because of his work from 1909-1939 as the architect for most of Western Kentucky University's buildings. 

This building, completed in 1911, is designed to look like the Acropolis
's Erechtheion Temple. The most notable feature of the structure was a 1,600 seat auditorium for hosting concerts and public events, but Van Meter also contained office space. It was named for Captain Charles J. Van Meter, a local riverboat captain and developer.

Today Van Meter Hall houses the office of Campus and Community Events. The auditorium is heavily used for theatrical performances, musical performances (concerts/symphonies/orchestras), guest speakers, pageants, various dance recitals, and Van Meter also serves as meeting space for large events hosted by the campus' president and other campus constituents. Many famous faces have performed on the stage of Van Meter Hall. Some are: Carlos Mencia (comedian), Anoushka Shankar (sitar player), KISS (rock band), Nancy Cartwright (voice of animated Bart Simpson), Charlie Daniels (country band), and more. 

The building has undergone minor renovations numerous times, most notably in 1968, 1969, and 1971. Van Meter Hall is currently undergoing a major renovation and expansion, started in the spring of 2008. More area is being added to the rear of the building, which will allow the music and theatre departments added space. The overhaul of the building will also allow for improvements in lighting structures and seating, which will allow student musicians and actors to stage better performances in the auditorium. The building reopened Spring of 2010.

Western Kentucky University has many ghost stories. In one such story Van Meter Hall is haunted by the ghost of a construction worker who was killed in a fall from above the auditorium stage during a renovation. Popular legend states that construction worker died in 1909 after seeing an airplane for the first time. Other versions of this tale refer to the death of an actress, a hermit living beneath the hall or the one-time president of the university Henry Hardin Cherry. The date of the supposed death is anytime between 1909 and the 1940s. The ghost is credited with moving furniture overnight, turning off lights and causing computer problems.

Hilltop Dr
Bowling Green, KY 42101
Phone Number
  • Architecture and Historical Buildings
  • History of Public and Higher Education
  • Urban History
This location was created on 2015-07-11 by Mike Emett, Marshall University Libraries.   It was last updated on 2015-07-24 by Mike Emett, Marshall University Libraries.

This entry has been viewed 277 times within the past year


  • No comments found.

Join The Discussion

Only registered users can comment. Registration is completely free!

Login / Register

ResponsiveVoice used under Non-Commercial License